Do you feel it?
That subtle nip in the air hinting of the change in the air? I lived in Ohio for 10 years—I miss the autumn leaves. In Texas, the leaves fall off the tress green and brittle from lack of water and extreme heat…. I’ve been noticing when I get off work for the past few night, a bit of a tiny nip in the air. (Yup, still hitting high 80’s to low 90’s in the day.) It’s the time of year I am ready to pull out sweaters and jackets, coats and vest, mittens and hats…only problem is it will be months before its cool enough to comfortably wear them.
I find myself homesick for Ohio this time of year (I lived in both Cincinnati and Columbus during my 10 years in Ohio). The mule-colored leaves. The unique smell of fall. The crisp air. The view of the river. The anticipation of the first snow fall (typically around Thanksgiving). The unique smells of rich coffee and baked pumpkin bread…all cinnamon and nutmeg-y with clove.
Autumn helps us remember that nothing ever stays the same. Some things have to die in order to make way for the freshness of spring that will be here before you know it with its bright burst of spring perennials.
Here it’s the nights that give it away—even though our days are still very very hot…it’s that subtle hint of coolness in the air late at night that hints that seasons…life is changing.
Autumn holds a special place for me in many ways. In my family the fall and winter months are the months that we do the most baking…pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie; apple pie or banana bread, cinnamon rolls all gooey with cream cheese icing…sugar cookies decorated with homemade butter crème icing; turkey and dressing and fresh cranberry sauce…oatmeal cookies with cranberries, pecans and coconut. The smells of baking intermingled with hot coco, hot coffee or vanilla chai tea with healthy dollops of cream and honey.
Somehow these are the smells of Thanksgiving and Christmas—it’s like bottle up the memories of all the best things of the holiday in one giant whiff. It’s the smell of love, of home, of being….
For me, the most perfect temperature range would be about 40-70 that’s the temperatures I love—and the late days of November with deliver. Its strikes me that September, October, November and December all almost sound like REMEMBER.
As a kid I loved the holidays, as a 20 something I loved the fall weather, then it was remembering how things use to be as I struggled with what is. Mixed together with “what is” is how I want things to be; and learning that for every season of my life—just like with every season in the year I have to learn to be content.
I have to choose contentment. I have to own my decisions. I have to be personally responsible for the choices I make. If I don’t like my choices, then I need to figure out a better option. But, I have the power of CHOICE.
Back in June I spent a few day in Seattle, Washington prior to leaving on an Alaskan cruise. Most people don’t have life changing moments in the middle of a crowded street at a busy intersection, but then again I’ve never been most people.
I’ve always had this “thing” about the only way to experience a city it to just jump in it. So, when I travel I prefer taking public transportation…the local light rails buses etc…and charting my way across the city with the aid of maps (and in this case I was using Google Maps).
I’m from Dallas, cities don’t scare me.
Yes, I’m alert in them, yes I am in careful in them and every city has its own persona—but I’m not scared of them.
Well Google lied—well at least it didn’t tell me alert me to the fact Seattle wasn’t flat. Now had this been something I thought about yeah, I would have realized it…but looking at Google maps with the streets all lined out straight and orderly it never dawned on me that those “straight” lines ACTUALLY went straight UP a “hill”.
I am a desk jockey – I sit at a computer. My exercises are finger stretches as I reach across the keyboard. My “squats” are sitting down and standing up. Basically, I don’t exercise—I walk from car to desk and desk to car…wash, rinse, repeat.
I landed in Seattle, grabbed my luggage and headed downtown via rail. I got downtown, got lost and finally at around 2pm PDT (I had been up since 2 am CDT) I ARRIVED. Pikes Market was everything and more than I had ever imagined. I breathed it in. Soaked it in. Felt like I was wallowing in its lushness. I got drunk on the atmosphere and sucked in the ambiance like it was fresh mountain air infused with ocean breezes….wait—who am I kidding—it was.
Then around 6pm or so my family called telling me they were at the hotel. I was only about 5 blocks away, but I was getting tired at this point. I had blisters on the palms of my hands from pulling a backpack on wheels, my feet hurt, and it felt like I had walked for miles.
Gamely I headed out. I took Pike Place to Pine. I marched up Pine St and hung a right on 2nd and made a left unto Madison. (I realized at some point I was definitely not a native Seattlian—I was the only one actually observing the traffic light and crossing when I should instead of hopscotching through traffic).
At Madison I just stopped in shock—IT WAS STRAIGHT UP…LITTERLEY STRAIGHT UP.
It was also there at 2nd & Madison that I had an epiphany – ONE of THOSE moment that will forever change your life.
My options were to go down to Marion and hope that the grade was less steep or just DO IT got straight up. I also knew that if I started up the “mountain” that I could not stop. There was no place to “break” or rest and the gravitational pull if I ever let go of my backpack would tumble it down the road and it wouldn’t stop until it hit the ocean.
I was out of options.
There were so many times as I slowly and steadily headed up Madison that out loud to myself like a mantra I said to myself: I CAN – I WILL – I CHOOSE THIS ROAD- I WILL MAKE IT TO THE TOP – I CAN DO THIS – I CHOOSE – I CHOOSE THIS – I CAN DO IT – I WILL DO IT.
I got to the top. Out of breath, red faced and so fatigued I couldn’t make the steps into the hotel and the bellhop reached down grabbed my backpack set in on the entrance of the lobby.
He then reached out took my hand half helped me up – half drug me up behind my luggage and said- thank you for choosing the Radisson ma’am.
That moment changed my life.
I learned the power of I CAN – I WILL!!
Since then whenever I find myself in a situation that is uncomfortable I say:
CAN – I WILL – I CHOOSE THIS ROAD- I WILL MAKE IT TO THE TOP – I CAN DO THIS – I CHOOSE – I CHOOSE THIS – I CAN DO IT – I WILL DO IT.